2015 Yamaha FJ-09 - First Ride

Yamaha’s new middleweight sport-tourer is an FZ-09 at heart.

2015 Yamaha FJ-09 action shot

Fresh on the heels of the FZ-09 sport naked, Yamaha's best-selling model, comes a new sport-touring variant heavily based on that bike. This new FJ-09, which offers greater comfort and versatility, has been in the works since long before the FZ-09 made its public debut in 2013.

Intermittent rain showers plagued the one-day FJ-09 press ride staged by Yamaha in the coastal mountains near Ojai, California, but they failed to put a damper on my enthusiasm for this machine. I'm happy to report that the new Yamaha FJ-09 makes excellent use of the FZ-09's 847cc cross-plane triple, the only difference being the mapping of the D-Mode throttle-response characteristics. Basically, the 2015 FJ-09 has less edgy initial fuel delivery in each of the three selectable modes.

Also setting the FJ-09 apart is standard traction control, along with ABS. That’s a smart move by Yamaha. ABS is always active, but TC can be toggled off while the bike is stationary. But be warned: Doing so unleashes the same third gear clutch-less wheelie ability that has made the FZ-09 such a hit with performance buffs. Both systems worked superbly on the slick and damp roads.

2015 Yamaha FJ-09 static side view

The main chassis components remain the same, although a new progressive-rate fork spring with softer initial travel is what likely accounts for a 1-degree reduction in rake. (We’ve asked Yamaha about this and hope to get an answer soon.) That stated, the new FJ-09 offers an excellent blend of stability and agility, aided by what Yamaha says are longer-lasting Dunlop Sportmax D222 Roadsmart II radials. The FJ-09 employs the same KYB suspension components as the FZ-09, although the compression and rebound damping of the fork and shock have been increased for heavier loads and greatly improved ride control.

What’s new is a subframe that’s 5.1 inches longer than the FZ-09’s, to accommodate the roomier and more deeply padded two-piece saddle as well as the detachable slim profile hard saddlebags and 9.8-gallon top case, both of which are accessories. Though roomy, the hard saddlebags will not accommodate a full-face helmet. The FJ-09’s claimed 33.3-inch seat height is 1.2 inches taller than FZ-09’s, and feels even higher due to the increased width near the tank. To accommodate the long-legged, the saddle can be raised an additional 0.6 inches. As for the taper-style handlebar, it’s 1.6 inches wider than the FZ’s and perched on a riser that’s 0.9 inches taller for a more upright and relaxed riding posture. Also, the riser can be rotated 180 degrees to position the bar 0.4 inches forward.

2015 Yamaha FJ-09 instrument panel

While the new 4.8-gallon fuel tank (up 1.1 gallons compared to the FZ) is wider, splaying your knees a bit, the new FJ-09 remains narrower than typical sport-touring or ADV machines. The mid-height windscreen has a 1.2-inch range of tool-less manual height adjustment, and I found both extremes of adjustment to provide decent torso coverage from the rain. Wind rumble was ever present, but there was no head-rocking buffet.

Handguards are standard, and of the 30 available accessories I highly recommend the heated grips ($283.99), which plug into the pre-wired stock harness. An all-new LCD dash features comprehensive trip computer info and a status display for the heated grips, all of which is controlled by FJR1300-style switchgear. A cigarette lighter type of DC outlet is on the left, while there’s a spot for an additional plug ($36.99) on the right to take advantage of the 415-watt charging system.

Available in Matte Gray or Candy Red, the $10,490 Yamaha FJ-09 is a centerstand-equipped sport-tourer that offers exceptional performance, comfort, and convenience at a price that will expand the popular category in a very good way.

ENGINE TYPE 847cc liquid-cooled inline 3-cylinder, DOHC, 12 valves
BORE x STROKE 78.0mm x 59.1mm
IGNITION Transistor Controlled Ignition
CLUTCH Wet, multiplate
FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm fork; adjustable preload and rebound, 5.4 in. of travel
REAR SUSPENSION Single shock; adjustable preload and rebound, 5.1 in. of travel
FRONT BRAKES Dual 298mm discs
REAR BRAKE 245mm disc
FRONT TIRE 120/70ZR-17
REAR TIRE 180/55ZR-17
L x W x H 85.0 in. x 37.4 in. x 54.1 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.3 in. or 33.9 in.
WHEELBASE 56.7 in.
RAKE 24°
TRAIL 3.9 in.
COLORS Matte Gray, Candy Red

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